I'm an engineer and I work for an IT company that wants to patent an invention of mine, an electronic device with a certain communication protocol. We consulted a patent lawyer who said that the thing invented by me was kind of similar (and the similarity was determined by the lawyer, who is not an expert in the field of the invention) to something described in another patent and thus already invented, yet as things weren't exactly the same we could patent my invention for the merit of pointing its scientific value but could never claim the exploitation rights.
I have read that "a patent does not grant the patent owner any right to make their own invention. Rather, the patent gives the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention. The patent holder's right to make their own invention is dependent upon the rights of others and whatever general laws might be applicable. Another party may own a patent that will prevent the patentee from utilizing her/his own invention."
And my questions are:
How is it possible if there's already another patent with a "similar" invention, that the lawyer says I can still patent my invention for the sake of science but never sell exploitation rights? Wasn't him supposed to say that I cannot patent my invention?
How is the similarity degree measured by a lawyer who is not an expert in the area of the invention, such that my invention qualifies for scientific but not for exploitation-right kind of patent?